The AT & T Inc. [ ˌ ː eɪti ənti ː ] is a North American telecommunications company. AT & T is next voice, data and video telecommunications and mobile communications and Internet services for private, corporate and government organizations.

AT & T has long had a monopoly in the U.S. and Canada. Therefore, the company was long the largest phone company in the world and the world's largest cable television operator.



The establishment of the Bell Telephone Company in 1877 replaced an agreement between Alexander Graham Bell and his financiers, Gardiner Greene Hubbard and Thomas Sanders. In March 1879, the company was renamed to the National Bell Telephone Company, and in March 1880 the American Bell Telephone Company. In 1881, the company had a controlling interest in the Western Electric Company of Western Union. Only three years earlier, Western Union had turned down Gardiner Hubbard 's offer to acquire all rights to the telephone for $ 100,000.

The American Telephone and Telegraph Company was incorporated on March 3, 1885, to operate the first telephone network in the country. Starting in New York, reached the telephone network in 1892 and 1915, Chicago, San Francisco. Transatlantic connections were offered from 1927 by means of radio transmission, the first transatlantic submarine cable was taken in 1956 with TAT- 1 in operation.

Monopoly position

On December 30, 1899, the American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation purchased the assets of American Bell, and it established the American telephone monopoly. This was referred to as " Bell system", as Bell had gradually acquired all companies, the rights possessed by his telephone technology.

The phone market was very marked in the early 20th century from the competition. The AT & T Chairman Theodore Vail put 1907 on the assertion that a monopoly is more efficient. The federal government took over this idea for the first time in the Kingsbury Commitment of 1913.

For much of the 20th century, the AT & T subsidiary AT & T Long Lines enjoyed a virtual monopoly on long distance calls in the U.S.. AT & T Bell Operating Companies 22 also controlled, which represented a major part of the local telephone networks. There was a lot of "independent telephone companies ", General Telephone was one of the most important, but the Bell System was much larger than all the others and was generally regarded as a monopoly.

During the early 1920s, AT & T bought Lee DeForest patents on the audion, the first vacuum tubes, they opened the gate to the radio business. Thanks to pressure by the First World War all useful patents were transferred to vacuum tubes in the possession of AT & T and RCA. RCA was interested in the use of wireless communication; AT & T pursued the use of tubes for signal amplifier in the phone field. Some of the patent allies and partners of RCA responded applied was as clear that the research of the two companies overlap in some areas; there were a lot of patent disputes.

AT & T, RCA, their patent allies and partners ended their dispute finally in 1926 with a comparison. AT & T decided to focus on the phone business and eventually sold its broadcasting subsidiary Broadcasting Corporation of America to RCA. The portfolio also includes the transmitter WEAF, who had at times also sent from the AT & T headquarters in New York. In return, RCA signed an agreement with AT & T, which promised that any new radio station would have RCA transmission connections from AT & T. Both companies decided mutual license their patents, which ended this part of the discussion. RCA, GE and Westinghouse were now able to merge their assets and form the National Broadcasting Company (NBC Network).

Profit commissions and local governments possessed the Bell System and all other telephone companies. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC ) regulated all services that operated across national borders. These commissions decided what charges raise the company and what services and equipment they could offer. AT & T took part in the technological progress. For example, AT & T introduced in 1962 the first commercial communications satellite, Telstar I, in operation. These and other new technologies to convince the FCC to tender competitions in some areas, and after 1975 competed various phone services together.

Antitrust proceedings

1974 anti- trust case against AT & T filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. The remains of the telephone monopoly lasted until final agreement on January 8, 1982 at the AT & T agreed to provide divest its subsidiaries that operated the local exchange services. On 1 January 1984 AT & T's local network operators were divided into seven independent Regional Bell Operating Companies, also known as Baby Bells. AT & T, which thus lost about 70 percent of its value, continued its business with its telephone services. Since this division of the American telephone market has left a lot of reorganization, other combinations, combination closures and acquisitions behind.

1991 bought AT & T on the National Cash Register (NCR ) to repel it again in 1996 and volunteered to split off a large part of the AT & T equipment manufacturers and to transform the renowned Bell Laboratories in Lucent Technologies.

AT & T is focused again on telecommunications services, purchased major cable TV operators on, including John Malone's TCI Corp.. and Media One, and thus acquired a 25 percent stake in Time Warner Cable. AT & T was the largest operator of cable television in the U.S. and thus proposed the so-called "last mile" to bridge the consumer. This would have the access monopoly of the Regional Bell Companies for data and video services broken into the home. But falling telephone charges and yielding a market for telecommunications services AT & T made ​​it impossible to carry the liabilities by the purchases and AT & T finally had to change his plans. 2002 AT & T sold its cable TV business to Comcast Communications Corporation.

2001 divided AT & T AT & T Wireless officially left the company, so this was the largest IPO in the world.

New AT & T

In 2005, the remaining company, AT & T for over 16 billion dollars by the former subsidiary SBC Communications ( Southwestern Bell Corporation ) was taken. The new group decided to take over the historic name of AT & T for the society as a whole.

2006 announced the new AT & T, to take over the breakaway over 20 years ago Baby Bell company Bell South for nearly 70 billion dollars. For a realization of the business, the company would overtake its competitor Verizon Communications and rise again the world's largest telecommunications companies. For this they got on December 29, 2006 release of the U.S. regulatory FCC.

In June 2007, AT & T took the U.S. wireless company Dobson Communications Corporation for 2.8 billion dollars ( 2.0 billion euros ).

In August 2007 it was announced that the company had censored the dissemination of criticism of the Bush administration 's own Internet network. Noticed this was at a concert of Pearl Jam where about George Bush, find yourself another home was excised. Subsequently, the company admitted that it had already come to such incidents before.

In March 2011, AT & T announced the purchase of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $ 39 billion. Of this, 25 billion in cash, the remainder to be paid in shares of AT & T. The German Telekom would rise by the largest minority shareholder of the North American company, with about 8 % of the shares on. Against the sale, the U.S. Justice Department has sued in the U.S. competition authority with success, making it now but does not come to take over. AT & T will provide for a so-called break- up fee in the total amount of U.S. $ 6 billion to the German Telekom, which encompasses, among others, the payment of three billion dollars. Break -up fees are usually from a height of between 1-5% of the transaction volume. The total amount of U.S. $ 6 billion with the AT & T agreement with Deutsche Telekom is, however, 15 % of the planned transaction amount and thus appears unusually high.


American Telephone and Telegraph was also known as Ma Bell and was of phone phreaks fondly called MOTHER. Subsidiaries as the Regional Bell Operating Companies ( RBOCs ) were often referred to as Baby Bells.